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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 10:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

I agree with you, Cliff. Hunter's contribution was largely irrelevant to the decline in the band's fortunes. We're not drawn to the band because of some snappy lyrics - that's just a side benefit - what brings us back time and again is the interplay between a bunch of talented musicians. Much of the best of the Grateful Dead is to be found in the places where there are no words, where the free-wheeling improvisation catches fire. If Jerry's too doped up and Phil too drunk to provide a spark then the best words in the world aren't going to set things right.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

" We're not drawn to the band because of some snappy lyrics - that's just a side benefit - what brings us back time and again is the interplay between a bunch of talented musicians. "

i disagree to an extent Rob. Don't get me wrong, I know where the magic lies, but I'm not one of those it HAS to be a jam type. One of the things that keeps drawing me back is also the lyrical interplay as well as the musical. I'm one of those who despise being made fun of with bad lyrics I could write.

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Poster: Hal R Date: Mar 30, 2010 8:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

I think there is a quite a bit of magic in those Hunter/Garcia compostions and they live beyond just the form of the interplay of the Band. There have been so many covers of these songs and tribute albums. These are Great songs period and one of the best if not the best songwriting teams in my lifetime (54 years). Do you agree with this or not? Come on folks.

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Poster: spacedface Date: Mar 31, 2010 11:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

And even in jams the lyrics tie things together with points of reference in the jams to other songs and to moods that the lyrics evoke.

Apart from that setlists had a definite effect on my mood at shows.

This post was modified by spacedface on 2010-03-31 18:26:47

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 1:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

I actually agree with you to a large extent. If the Dead had been a purely instrumental band I doubt I'd still be listening to them as much as I do. Definitely, there would be a lot lost if the passages of improvisation didn't eventually lead back into a song that made you leap up punch the air and start singing along. Nonetheless, I'll stand by my point that I'm drawn more to the quality of the performance than the words being performed.

Oh yeah, bad lyrics. There's a stream that'll never run dry.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Mar 30, 2010 1:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

" Oh yeah, bad lyrics. There's a stream that'll never run dry. "

for some reason Foreigner always tops that list for me.

" I'm hot blooded check it and see, got a fever of 103"

come on! my kid has made up way better songs than that

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

More "70s Butt Rock"

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

"I look at the floor, and I see it needs sweeping.
Still my guitar gently weeps."

Genius or jackass?

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Poster: cush212 Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Only if you can make it rhyme with "orange"!!!

Yes, I'm still lurking about... Not much to say lately, but feel it my civic duty to keep an eye on you rabblerousers!

;)

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Orange you glad we still we remember you?

Hiya Jon!

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Poster: cush212 Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Hello to you my friend!

"Orange you glad we still we remember you?"

Worth two "nyucks" out of three!!!

Was my hometown here in CA though... But I guess most of those files are public record now...

:)

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

oh come on, that's your poster child for shit lyrics? I took it as one example of depression, seeing something that needs to be done and not caring

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Hey read the whole post before you give me the old 'come on'. Note I said 'genius or jackass' not 'jackass' - point being that there can be a fine line between a great lyric and a grisly one. Your interpretive skills are sound, oh man of the North. Are we cool?

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Poster: vapors Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Well said about that fine line.
Do you think it would be fair to include the previous line – “I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping” ? That helps me a bit; after all it is a good rhyme. By no means do I wish to get into a lyric debate regarding this song, which regardless of how the words fall does include some great guitar work. It is George’s vocal delivery that really make his songs work for me. Genius, I can’t say… but never a jackass. I’m hoping we agree?

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Well said you too regarding the vocal delivery. Got to remember that these are songs, meant to be sung, not poems that stand alone. An ordinary lyric can be elevated into something special by the right musical accompaniment. Are we in agreement? I'd say done deal, Dan!

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Poster: cush212 Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

{{{{{Group Hug}}}}} time?

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

hey - don't come on like rbnw - you'll give me nightmares!

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Poster: cush212 Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Is my purpose in life to give nightmares! Just ask any of the women I've gone out with!!!

Now that's a three nyucker!!!

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Mar 30, 2010 2:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

of course we're cool Rob

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 3:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Yeah, I knew it. We're old school.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Mar 30, 2010 3:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

yep

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

True that.

The lyrics also seem to deter some folks from really "getting" the music. For example: the wife. She has said on more then one occasion "What the hell are they trying to say? I don't get it." I try to tell her just listen to the music, forget the words; but I guess she focuses more on lyrics than the melody. I've always wondered what the fan base would look like if they were strictly an instrumental band.

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

It would probably look like you and me. Now there's a frightening thought. Come back, Hunter, all is forgiven.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Yes, my whole point with Paul (have sent him an email about your defense and love all things "Sir Paul" (JK of course, I know you weren't doing that!) was the the decline of Hunter could at best have only been a small part of it...

But, I do think the notion of him coming to the DEAD with AmBeau and Workman gems in 1986 might have made Jerry feel more alive? More better?

I think that was partly STloco's point worth considering?

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Poster: Jobygoob Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

From the number of times we heard Foolish Heart, So Many Roads, Liberty, Standing On The Moon, etc etc played live, it doesn't seem to me that Jerry had much of a problem with RH's latter day output for the band. I would agree that these songs don't even come close in comparison with the gems from the two early albums you mentioned, but I certainly wouldn't describe them as stale or examples of a declining talent either. Probably more of an evolution than anything, for better or worse, most would say worse I guess. The lightning that struck twice on WD and AB wasn't ever really repeated in any of the later collaborations, but there's much to love in everything that came later in my opinion anyway.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Mar 30, 2010 7:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

)

sorry Tell, you had nested parentheses and forgot to close one!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 30, 2010 8:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Thanks! I do that SO often...good to know you've got my back (ahem, in a good way!)...here's a few more for next time: )))))

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Poster: spacedface Date: Mar 31, 2010 11:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

re American Beauty, are Hunter's notebooks published to compare periods?

What if Jerry was just interested in ice cream, heroin, and old-timey covers (those were good).

This post was modified by spacedface on 2010-03-31 18:05:24

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Poster: steam locomotive Date: Mar 30, 2010 3:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

This debate goes back to Plato, but I should probably categorically state that yes the lyrics matter considerably to the overall quality of the music. The songs are more than just platforms for extended improvisation.

(To return to an earlier discussion) This is one of the many things that separates the Dead from the jam bands -- they have great songs. Furthermore, one of the things that elevates the Dead's jamming is their thematic quality. Garcia's playing is highly sensitive to the lyrical content of the songs.

Coupla other points:

Hunter's fading powers were certainly not the only factor in the band's overall decline, just an underrated one. To me, the boredom in those later years is palpable at times. In the past, they were clearly energized by the influx of new tunes, which could even reshape how they approached old material (e.g., post-Fire Scarlet Begonias).

Also, Hunter's talent went considerably beyond American Beauty and Workingman's. Aside from those I'd throw in:

Bertha
Bird Song
Brown-eyed women
China doll
Comes a time
Crazy fingers
Deal
Eyes of the world
Fire on the mountain
Franklin's tower
GSET
Here comes sunshine
He's gone
IMHBTR
Jack straw
Loose Lucy
Loser
Miss Half Step
Playing
Ramble on rose
Reuben and Cerise
Row jimmy
Scarlet begonias
Stella blue
Sugaree
TLEO
To lay me down
Wharf rat
The wheel

Add it up and it starts to look like one of the great American songbooks.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 30, 2010 4:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

It does indeed! Great Americana for sure!?

Yep, I think we two are largely on the same pg; great discussion thread!

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Poster: Uncle_John Date: Mar 30, 2010 11:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

To me, Hunter is(was) a masterful lyricist. After more than 30 years of listening I know all the songs by heart, but I'm still occasionally floored by some lyrical nuance or a new interpretation of a familiar line. Often it's a slightly different delivery by Garcia that triggers this, but it's a big part of what keeps me coming back for more.

I definitely agree that the quality and quantity of Garcia/Hunter songs declined after the hiatus, and dropped of precipitously in the 80's. But I'm not sure that was entirely Hunter's fault. I've read that Garcia withdrew from his non-junkie friends during the dark years, and it wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine that his relationship with Hunter was strained. If I were Hunter and my friend was off in the ozone, I wouldn't be too inspired to create new material to work on with him...

They did seem to have a bit of a resurgence in their partnership during Garcia's more sober years in the late 80's and early 90's but, I agree, not much that equaled their earlier work.

As for the poet/lyricist argument - I'd say Hunter worked both sides of that fence. Some of his song lyrics would certainly stand alone as poetry, others wouldn't. I would say that he showed the insight and sensitivity of a poet when, in the early 90's, he wrote the band's obituary in Days Between.

- John


Edited to say... WRT the Beatles: Paul was a better songwriter, but John was the one who actually had something to say.

This post was modified by Uncle_John on 2010-03-31 06:13:34

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Mar 31, 2010 5:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Robert Hunter

Promontory Rider
Tiger Rose